Profiling of exercise-induced transcripts in the peripheral blood cells of Thoroughbred horses

J Equine Sci. 2016;27(4):157-164. doi: 10.1294/jes.27.157. Epub 2016 Dec 15.


Transcriptome analyses based on DNA microarray technology have been used to investigate gene expression profiles in horses. In this study, we aimed to identify exercise-induced changes in the expression profiles of genes in the peripheral blood of Thoroughbred horses using DNA microarray technology (15,429 genes on 43,603 probes). Blood samples from the jugular vein were collected from six horses before and 1 min, 4 hr, and 24 hr after all-out running on a treadmill. After the normalization of microarray data, a total of 26,830 probes were clustered into four groups and 11 subgroups showing similar expression changes based on k-mean clustering. The expression level of inflammation-related genes, including interleukin-1 receptor type II (IL-1R2), matrix metallopeptidase 8 (MMP8), protein S100-A8 (S100-A8), and serum amyloid A (SAA), increased at 4 hr after exercise, whereas that of c-Fos (FOS) increased at 1 min after exercise. These results indicated that the inflammatory response increased in the peripheral blood cells after exercise. Our study also revealed the presence of genes that may not be affected by all-out exercise. In conclusion, transcriptome analysis of peripheral blood cells could be used to monitor physiological changes induced by various external stress factors, including exercise, in Thoroughbred racehorses.

Keywords: Thoroughbred; exercise; horses; transcriptome.